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Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Date:6/14/2010

Five servings of white rice weekly can up risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers report,,

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Substituting brown rice or another whole grain for white rice can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Five or more servings of white rice a week increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 17 percent, according to the study, which is published in the June 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. But replacing white rice with brown rice could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 16 percent, the study found.

"This is an important message for public health. White rice is potentially harmful for the risk of type 2 diabetes," said the study's lead author, Dr. Qi Sun, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"Over the last decade, rice consumption in the U.S. has really increased a lot, but more than 70 percent of the rice consumed is white rice," said Sun, who added, "People should replace white rice with brown rice or whole grains."

The reason that brown rice may offer some protection, according to Sun, is that it still contains many of the nutrients and fiber that are stripped away in the production of white rice. During the refining and milling process necessary to make white rice, the rice loses a significant amount of its fiber and most of the vitamins and minerals, according to the study.

"When you have just the white rice, it's mostly protein and starch, and you're making freer carbohydrates that are easy to digest," said Dr. Jacob Warman, chief of endocrinology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.

"With white rice, the digestive enzymes can more easily penetrate the rice grains and release the starch for digestion. After ingesting white rice, blood sugar increases more rapidly," Sun said.

To analyze how those di
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